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The Items To Beware Of This Halloween

The spooky selection MR PORTER keeps locked up in the basement

Halloween. The highlight of the autumn for the more party-minded of us. A big night for all, and not just Ms Heidi Klum (if you haven’t seen her costumes for her annual New York Halloween party, google them now).

Yet, for quite a number of us, the notion of dressing up inspires waves of anxiety. How to be original and not cause offence? How to look good when you’re all gory? How to look like you haven’t tried too hard when you have? The trick, then, is to pick some iconic menswear that evokes the spirit of Halloween, but also transition seamlessly into a style cornerstone that you can sport for the rest of the season.

With that in mind, we’d like to suggest the following pieces for 31 October. They are guaranteed to send your head into an Exorcist-worthy spin. Each piece has been selected for its cult status or occult appropriateness, style credibility or nostalgia points. Scroll down, we dare you. Mwah-haha-ha.

In space, no one can hear you scream

This chunky cable knit by Neil Barrett brings to mind the work of Mr HR Giger, the Swiss painter and designer who mined his own nightmares in phantasmagoria to conceive the monster (slimy, eyeless and overwhelmingly fecund) for the 1979 Sir Ridley Scott film, Alien. His obscene and uneasy meshing of bones, teeth, tentacles and biological machinery send shivers down the spine (and who can forget the alien’s majestic spine, which finishes in a lethal, lashing tail). In blood red, it pairs well with distressed denim jeans, such as these from Fear of God, and some heavy lace-up boots from Dries Van Noten. The look teeters on the brink between statement party outfit and smart weekend look, which is exactly the right balance for Halloween.

Wear it with

  • Fear of God Skinny-Fit Zip-Detailed Distressed Selvedge Denim Jeans

  • Dries Van Noten Calf Hair-Trimmed Pebble-Grain Leather Kiltie Brogue Boots


Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice

Black and white stripes and Halloween go together like witches and broomsticks. They recall the outfits of some of Hollywood’s most famous ghouls and goons: the impeccably cut pinstripe suit worn by the pumpkin-headed king of Halloween Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas; the double-breasted thickly striped jacket worn by Gomez in The Addams Family and matching tee worn by his son Pugsley. Yet perhaps they’re most famously, or should that be cultishly, associated with Mr Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, whose 1980s monochromatic two-piece – worn in the film by Mr Michael Keaton – really left its mark on the fashion world. Take your costume cue from the belching, comedic phantom with this cashmere sweater from The Elder Statesman and a pair of Neil Barrett bullring Derbies. Ghoulish face paint and shock of green hair optional.

Wear it with

  • Haider Ackermann Slim-Fit Tapered Striped Wool and Cotton-Blend Twill Trousers

  • Neil Barrett Embellished Polished-Leather Derby Shoes


For those about to rock

You only have to look at bands such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Slayer to realise that heavy metal and Halloween go hand in hand. Kiss could even fit into this camp – their unapologetic penchant for costume, character and DIY makeup made them one of the biggest band of the 1970s and 1980s, and arguably rock’s Halloween poster boys. So one option this year is to channel your inner metal-head and invest in Vetements’ Rammstein printed hoodie. The cult brand’s designer Mr Demna Gvasalia likens the effect of their urgent guitar riffs and haunting vocals to his design aesthetic: bold, unconventional and aggressive. Accessorise with Alexander McQueen’s silver-toned skull bracelet and heavily applied eye-makeup to instantly up your goth-game.

Wear it with

  • Solid Homme Tapered Grosgrain-Trimmed Stretch-Wool Drawstring Trousers

  • Alexander McQueen Silver-Tone Beaded Skull Bracelet


You’re gonna need a bigger boat

In the summer of 1975, Mr Steven Spielberg unleashed a new kind of terror on the world with the release of Jaws. Decades on, and our eyes still peel for a fin on the horizon every time we brave the open water – cue Mr John Williams’ dun-dun, dun-dun, dun-dun score. French fashion house Givenchy has appropriated the great white for this boxy hoodie. In recent years, the brand has developed a penchant for fearsome animal imagery from gorillas to rottweilers. Swallow the label’s whole streetwear aesthetic and wear it with this pair of shredded jeans from AMIRI, which look like one of said rotters has had a go at already.

Wear it with

  • AMIRI MX1 Skinny-Fit Leather-Panelled Distressed Stretch-Denim Jeans

  • Rick Owens + adidas Runner Leather Sneakers


Like a bat out of hell

When it comes to Halloween mascots, bats (especially of the vampiric variety) rank right up there with ghosts, werewolves and everything else that goes bump in the night. Rather than fashioning a winged costume out of cardboard and bin-liners, why not opt for Gucci’s jacquard-knit wool and alpaca-blend sweater to conjure the spirit. There’s no denying how bold it is, but that doesn’t mean styling should be difficult – think white shirtblack jeans and a pair of clean white sneakers.

Wear it with

  • OrSlow 105 Denim Jeans

  • Balenciaga Urban Low Textured-Leather Sneakers


Something evil lurking in the dark

This year marks the 35th anniversary of Mr Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the title track of which is the ultimate Halloween song, guaranteed to get a crowd doing that infamous side-step-claw-hand zombie routine and satanic cackle in unison. For the song’s epic video, a gyrating Mr Jackson transforms from preppy all-American student (in a varsity jacket a lot like this one by Kingsman) to a sinister and gyrating fang-toothed vampire in a futuristic red leather jacket and matching trousers. Try it for yourself with Ami’s virgin wool-blend and leather jacket and Gucci’s blood-red, side-stripe trousers, and don’t forget the white socks.

Wear it with

  • Gucci Slim-Fit Cropped Embroidered Grosgrain-Trimmed Twill Trousers

  • Gucci Stripe-Trimmed Cable-Knit Stretch Wool-Blend Socks